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Death Toll Revised to 24 in Oklahoma Tornado - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Death Toll Revised to 24 in Oklahoma Tornado

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MOORE, Okla. (AP) - The state medical examiner's office has revised the death toll from a tornado in an Oklahoma City suburb to 24 people, including nine children.

Spokeswoman Amy Elliott said Tuesday morning that she believes some victims were counted twice in the early chaos of the storm. Authorities said initially that as many as 51 people were dead, including 20 children.

Elliott says nine children are confirmed dead, including seven who were pulled from the wreckage of an elementary school in Moore, 10 miles south of Oklahoma City.

Teams are continuing to search the shattered community after the Monday afternoon tornado.

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(CNN) Moore, Oklahoma -- Even for a city toughened by massive tornadoes, Moore has never seen this kind of devastation.

The vicious tornado that ripped across central Oklahoma on Monday killed at least 51 people -- with about 40 more bodies expected to arrive at the Oklahoma state medical examiner's office, Amy Elliott of the coroner's office said Tuesday. Roughly half of the expected bodies are children.

The official death toll will gradually rise from 51 as each of the bodies is processed, Elliott said.

Despite the woeful news, rescue workers clung to the hope of finding more survivors and scoured mountains of rubble where houses and schools once stood.

At least 20 of those killed were children, including seven from Plaza Towers Elementary School in Moore -- the site of a frantic search Tuesday morning.

The school was in the direct path of the storm's fury. About 75 students and staff members were hunkered down in Plaza Towers when the tornado struck, CNN affiliate KFOR reported.

At one point, an estimated 24 children were missing from the school, but some later turned up at nearby churches. It's unclear how many may still be trapped in the wreckage, and how many are dead or alive.

A father of a third-grader still missing sat quietly on a stool outside. Tears cascaded from his face as he waited for any news.

Even parents of survivors couldn't wrap their minds around the tragedy.

"I'm speechless. How did this happen? Why did this happen?" Norma Bautista asked. "How do we explain this to the kids? ... In an instant, everything's gone."

Across town, Moore Medical Center also succumbed to the tornado.

"Our hospital has been devastated," Mayor Glenn Lewis said. "We had a two-story hospital, now we have a one. And it's not occupiable."

So 145 of the injured were rushed to three other area hospitals.

That number includes 45 children taken to the children's hospital at Oklahoma University Medical Center, Dr. Roxie Albrecht said. Injuries ranged from minor to severe, including impalement and crushing injuries.

Read More: http://www.cnn.com/2013/05/21/us/severe-weather/index.html?hpt=hp_t1

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